Album number three for Hawke’s Bay’s Golden Curtain, the super tight three-piece of guitarist Andrew Mckenzie, bass player Brad Gamble and former Garageland stickman Andrew Gladstone on drums. Short in its duration, with just eight tracks clocking in a few ticks under 25 minutes, ‘Hell Is Other People’ takes us on a whirlwind journey into the world of alt-country Bay-style, with ’60s passages (Toys), boy-girl excursions (Penelope Blue, Lucille), and an occasional venture into rockier climes (Like An Island). All supplemented with a pop twist, colourful textures, and subtle hints of psychedelia.
Produced by the band, mixed and mastered by Brett Stanton, one of the album’s real strengths is the strong vocal harmonies throughout – something that seems to hint, inadvertently perhaps, at a certain togetherness or unity, or of a collective self-assurance. At the very least, there’s a sense that this band is perfectly comfortable in its own skin. Or it might just be as simple as Golden Curtain being right at the very peak of its powers. Despite the relative brevity it’s a solid album, with the musical package suitably complemented by the rather fetching pop-art album cover artwork by local music identity, artist, and all-round Hall-of-Famer, Fane Flaws.